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#StartupsVsCovid19: New Entrants Heat Up Grocery Competition On Day 24 Of Lockdown

#StartupsVsCovid19: New Entrants Heat Up Grocery Competition On Day 24 Of Lockdown

The government will keep a track of layoffs and pay cuts due to Covid-19

The labour ministry has also set up over 20 call centres to record and resolve workers’ grievances

Ecommerce players have started their preparations to get deliveries back on track

India is now reeling from the economic, financial and personal impact of coronavirus pandemic. With the extension to the lockdown, the plans for several companies, which were hoping to get back on their feet at the earliest, have taken another round of beating. As a result, there are two major focus areas for most businesses — restarting operations and cost-cutting.

While cost-cutting has led to pay cuts, layoffs and furloughs, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has decided to keep a record of all such developments. The data collected will give insights on the worst-affected sectors and the employees impacted by the closure of establishments.

The labour ministry has also set up over 20 call centres to record and resolve workers’ grievances related to salary cuts and job losses. Meanwhile, Regional EPFO offices have also been asked to reach out to subscribers through calls.

Further, despite the central government’s orders that non-essential deliveries can begin post-April 20, if the situation in the areas is better in terms of new and existing cases, ecommerce companies are counting on restarting their operations. Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Odisha have now issued notifications to enable ecommerce delivery of both essential and non-essential items after  April 20.

Meanwhile, Karnataka, Telangana and Haryana are also finalising their decision to allow the delivery of non-essential goods. Currently, no state government has allowed any ecommerce delivery in Covid-19 hotpots or containment zones within their respective states.

After the government’s announcement, ecommerce players have started their preparations to get deliveries back on track. Currently, Amazon India is focusing on supporting the immediate need of consumers. Flipkart said that it will serve consumers while promoting social distancing through a sanitised supply chain.

Flipkart further said it is continuously working with the seller community to provide them with support and enabling business readiness as these businesses await to make a comeback online. With around two lakh sellers on its platform, Flipkart’s seller support team is providing constant counsel and on-ground support to sellers on its platform to help them resume operations in a few days and help consumers in this time of need as they continue to stay indoors.

The analytics teams are supporting sellers with market intelligence to ensure smooth listings on the platforms. Also, the supply chain team continues to maintain an intense focus on safety and health procedures in all Flipkart facilities and staff that will support the movement of goods for sellers.

Grocery Is The Hottest Feature

B2B ecommerce platform MaxWholesale has launched an app that allows consumers to get in touch with kirana stores and local retailers. Radius – The Neighborhood App allows kirana stores to share their catalogue with their neighbourhood, connect with their premium customers to receive orders and payments and share real-time updates with them.

Housejoy has launched Housejoy Mart for delivery of essential items. Currently active in Bengaluru, Housejoy Mart will help deliver groceries, vegetables and other essential items to customers.

Further, Curefit has announced the addition of a wide range of grocery essentials in its delivery unit, Whole.fit. Offering nearly 40 SKUs across various categories including staples and ready-to-eat meals, Curefit aims to deliver these products within 24 hours of order placement and is working closely with the brand partners to mitigate the existing constraints. It has collaborated with brands like Saffola (Marico), MTR, Britannia, Pillsbury (General Mills), Ashirwad (ITC), MDH, 24 Mantra etc.

Uber has announced a partnership with Medlife to provide residents across Kolkata, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Pune, access to prescription and other over-the-counter medicines, amidst the ongoing national lockdown. Uber is leveraging its technology and vast network of delivery partners to support Medlife in delivering medicines safely to consumers’ doorsteps so they can continue to observe government guidelines for reducing the spread of Covid-19.

Technology Comes To The Aid

Bengaluru-based mobility unicorn Ola has announced that it is offering its technology platforms and capabilities to government and public service organisations to tackle Covid-19. The company has launched the Ola CONNECTS (Comprehensive Navigation, Networking, Control and Tracking Solution) initiative to support the efforts on the ground.

The company said that CONNECTS can be deployed as a turn-key solution or customised to specific requirements, to assist governments and its various agencies in managing real-time war rooms for various operations at scale, with 100% data privacy and security. The platform and required development solutions are being offered free of cost to the government and its various agencies.

InnAccel Technologies has launched Saans Pro, a non-invasive ventilation (infrastructure-independent) system for Covid-19 patients in ICU. The company said that the system was designed, engineered and manufactured in India to treat patients with worsening hypoxemia, who are not stressed and have no other organ failure. It can also serve as a backup ventilation system when a ventilator or trained staff for intubation is not immediately available (bridge to ventilation).

LEAD School said it is aiding over 2.5 lakh school students to continue their learning online and ensuring there is no disruption in their academic year. LEAD School launched its unique [email protected] programme under which online classes have generated approximately 30 Lakh video views. The initiative has made remote or distance learning accessible to students in over 600 English-medium schools.

The programme is based entirely on the core syllabus conceived by central and state education boards and taught in schools. The students will study the regular curriculum as they would in schools, and not supplementary courses that other education platforms are offering.

Instacar said that it is now part of critical services group and have its chauffeurs following the protocol of social distancing in cars to ensure travels are safe and hygienic.